BOSTON -- Carlos Pena and Ben Francisco hit back-to-back, tape-measure homers in the fifth inning on Wednesday night to lead the Tampa Bay Rays to their seventh consecutive victory, 4-2 over the Boston Red Sox.
The Rays remained 3 1-2 games behind Baltimore for second place in the AL East. Tampa Bay began the day three games behind Oakland for the second wild-card spot.
Alex Cobb (10-9) allowed one run on three hits and a walk, striking out five in five innings as the Rays matched their longest winning streak of the season. Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth for his 45th save in 47 chances.
Jon Lester (9-14) gave up three runs on four hits and a walk, striking out five in six innings. He didn’t allow a hit until Jeff Keppinger singled to left with one out in the fifth, then he gave up back-to-back home runs.
Pena hit his 19th homer, nearly hitting the back wall behind the seats in straightaway center field. Francisco hit another long homer, this one off a billboard above the Green Monster seats, to make it 3-1.
The Red Sox cut the deficit to one run in the sixth when Dustin Pedroia walked, stole second, went to third on Cody Ross’ single and scored on James Loney’s medium fly ball to right field. The stolen base was Pedroia’s second of the game and the 100th of his career.
The Red Sox had some of their all-time greats on the field before the game to help close Fenway Park’s
Although the game was Boston’s 793rd consecutive announced sellout -- its fifth straight year over 3 million for the season -- the ballpark was mostly empty when Rodney struck out Daniel Nava to end the game.